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  1. #1
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    Lester's 2014 option

    Before the season it seemed like a no-brainer that it would be picked up, but so far this year he's basically pitching the same as last year. This year he has a slightly better K rate, slightly worse BB rate, once again his velocity is slightly down from last year. His era isn't as bad, but it gets closer with every start. His FIP seems to think hes allowing more runs then he should, 4.11 last year and 4.12 this year, but a low 4 era isn't exactly what you wanted from him.

    He has a $13M option next year. Since the beginning of last year he has been a below average pitcher, and nothing I see gives me hope that he will improve and return to being the Lester of old. If the season ended today I'm not sure what the Red Sox would do. $13M might be worth gambling on him rebounding, but is it worth it when our rotation next year consists of:

    1: Lackey, who's pitching like he did for the Angels, his surgery looks like it turned back the clock
    2: Buchholz, injured every year, but has put it all together this year, he's under team control until 2017
    3: Dempster, has been a very solid innings eater, just what we wanted. FIP says his era is way better than his era, probably because all of the homeruns.
    4. Doubront, has pitched very good since the start of June, young and cheap.

    We have a slew of pitchers who could potentially take a spot next year: Webster and Rubby would be the front runners, with Ranaudo, Workman, and Barnes all possible at some point.

    Names that stand out in free agency are: Floyd, Garza, Halladay, Haren, Hudson, Hughes, Johnson, Kuroda, Lincecum, Maholm, Nolasco. Nothing too appealing, which is funny since this free agency looked great just a couple years ago. What are the odds we get more value out of one of these free agent pitchers then Lester at $13M?

    Trading him voids his 2014 option, so why would a team trade anything of good value for a mediocre rental? The best hope is that he turns it around and this thread looks silly in a couple months. I am really starting to wonder if this is the last we see of Lester in a Red Sox uniform though. Even if he turns it around and ends up having a good year and we pick up the option, he would be turning 31 at the start of his next contract. At that age with his overall decline how can you offer him a 4+ year contract?

  2. #2
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    At this point it is to early to say.

    But if his ERA sticks around 4.5 it would be hard to justify picking the option up.
    I would like to see them pick it up, and then flip him for a little something. Honestly, I am sick of Lester.

    Would love to find a taker for Dempster too, and then offer to take Cliff Lee's contract off the Phils hands. I think this team is an ace like cliff and a healthy Buch to being very good.

    But anyway, I am holding out on Lester putting it together and making the option a no brainier again.

  3. #3
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    I think for his option to be voided 1) has to traded 2) has to finish in the top 2 for cy young voting. But if Ben can get value, you have to move him. I wonder if some kind package headlined by lester would be enough to grab Santana and Holland.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by win red sox View Post
    I think for his option to be voided 1) has to traded 2) has to finish in the top 2 for cy young voting. But if Ben can get value, you have to move him. I wonder if some kind package headlined by lester would be enough to grab Santana and Holland.
    Not at this point. Pretty sure the Royals wouldn't touch Lester as a rental, and he has sucked. Santana is a guy who has out preformed Lester, and the Royals probably have a higher chance at resigning. Holland is a stud BP arm. Can't see it happening

  5. #5
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    His trade value has to be close to nonexistent right now. Half a season of a guy that has pitched below league average is not a hot commodity. This is a similar case to Haren. Haren had a low 4 era last year while pitching hurt, and was an elite pitcher from 2007-2011. The Angels didn't exercise his option, actually using a pricey buyout. He could only get a 1 year deal, and has been terrible this year, giving up homers like crazy.

  6. #6
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    Lester's problems are simple IMO to see:

    1. He's way too emotional when he gets a bad call.
    2. He gets squeezed a **** load because he's too emotional and the umps are punishing him

    But you could see this in his first year. He had what 4 really good years in a row, but, his velocity regressed in 2011-12 and the problems just got amped up.

    He's a lefty, he's healthy, he's at $8.7 FG WAR already. Potential still oozes out of him. The Sox aren't cash strapped, he's back next year. Now, he could get dealt at the deadline next year. If we are flush with SP and in it, or out of it, and the price is right, and it's determined that he simply isn't worth it in the long run - go do it.

    Given the state the Sox are in, any talk of dealing him now or at the deadline is a tacit admission that this team is going nowhere. Won't happen. And his value is far from non existant. Stick him in a big park in the NL and watch out.
    Last edited by bagwell368; 07-09-2013 at 07:47 AM.


    6/27/09: “We expect [Rondo] to play by the rules and be a leader as a point guard. We need him to be more of a leader,” Ainge said. “There were just a couple situations where he was late this year, I don’t know if he was sitting in his car, but showed up late and the rest of the team was there. We have team rules and you have to be on time. He was fined for being late, he said he was stuck in traffic, and it’s just unacceptable.”

    Some jerks never learn.....

  7. #7
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    I agree with what most said. Trading him at the deadline is not an option (unless you get blown away with an offer), let's see how he finishes the season out and go from there. If he finishes out the season the way he's currently pitching, I can't imagine declining his option will upset fans more than the possibility of a De La Rosa or Webster's potential will appeal to fans. At $13 mil and at the current state of this team, I believe that will be what this decision hinges on: fan perception. If the Sox can get away with cutting Lester loose and moving on to one of their future arms, I would imagine they will. Again, this assumes he finishes the year the way he's started it.

    I'm also glad Bags brought up Lester's emotions on the mound. That is one thing that really gets to me with Lester, during his starts I'm always either thinking or flat out yelling at the TV "just make the pitch!" If he hasn't learned by now that umps have egos, then he'll never improve. Showing up an umpire on the mound or in the batter's box never works out in your favor. How many times do you see a batter quickly turn away in disgust with a call then see the next borderline call go against him? Almost every time it happens.

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  8. #8
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    I think Lester still has great potential... but quite possibly not in BOS. I'm believe that he took the 9/11 collapse very personally (thanks to the chicken-and-beer thing) and has not been the same since. He vowed to lead the way last year and failed miserably. I could see that stemming from trying too hard to make a difference. 2013 has been all about correcting 2012 because he now "has something to prove." The results are similar -- half his month ERAs are good and half are well below average. Very few, however, approach the pitcher we saw before the collapse.

    If he could find a landing spot where he could be a dominant #2 in a lower pressure environment he might thrive again. I don't think it'll happen in BOS.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Lavigne43- View Post
    Trading him voids his 2014 option, so why would a team trade anything of good value for a mediocre rental? The best hope is that he turns it around and this thread looks silly in a couple months. I am really starting to wonder if this is the last we see of Lester in a Red Sox uniform though. Even if he turns it around and ends up having a good year and we pick up the option, he would be turning 31 at the start of his next contract. At that age with his overall decline how can you offer him a 4+ year contract?
    WRS is correct -- a trade will NOT void his option. He has to be traded AND finish in the top 2 of CY voting during the guaranteed years of his contract. The closest he finished was #4 and it doesn't look like he makes it this year. Given that there's ~16M/1.5yrs left I might explore some options depending on the direction the team takes over the next three weeks.

    That said, if he's with the team on Sep 1 then I think he's with the team in 2014. I'm not sure that it's the right decision but I think it's the most likely.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagwell368 View Post
    Lester's problems are simple IMO to see:

    1. He's way too emotional when he gets a bad call.
    2. He gets squeezed a **** load because he's too emotional and the umps are punishing him

    But you could see this in his first year. He had what 4 really good years in a row, but, his velocity regressed in 2011-12 and the problems just got amped up.

    He's a lefty, he's healthy, he's at $8.7 FG WAR already. Potential still oozes out of him. The Sox aren't cash strapped, he's back next year. Now, he could get dealt at the deadline next year. If we are flush with SP and in it, or out of it, and the price is right, and it's determined that he simply isn't worth it in the long run - go do it.

    Given the state the Sox are in, any talk of dealing him now or at the deadline is a tacit admission that this team is going nowhere. Won't happen. And his value is far from non existant. Stick him in a big park in the NL and watch out.
    A pitcher who can give you ~200 inning of average production is valuable, but when you already have a guy like that in Dempster I think that value lessens, and just makes your rotation closer to mediocre and hurts our team from taking that next step. If he doesn't get better this year that's two disappointing seasons in a row. Isn't Lester essentially a different version of Lincecum, Johnson, and Halladay during next years free agency? All have that potential but bad recent results and different concerns. Nolasco or Floyd could give you those innings too.

    I agree, I think he would do well in the NL, especially a smaller market team. I don't think he has any intention of signing with us once his contract is done, he doesn't handle Boston well anymore. The Angels picked up Santana's option and traded him, but they got nothing back, a trade isn't an option.

  10. #10
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    Lester's a good pitcher and all but I think if he continues to struggle I think you'll see him in another uniform in 2014.
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  11. #11
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    Lester still has 95 last night. but his control is just very poor to make any use of it. t's something Lester is struggling with. The reliance on his cutter drives up the pitch count as it seems for 5 he throws, 2 has to be block by his catcher, at least at least 2 foul and maybe a strikeout. His K rate has really dropped and it damage his final line, unable to get that big strikeout when needed. When the 5-6th inning roll by, his pitches is already in the century mark, not because of 1 or 2 bad balls, because he cannot put away batters consistently.

    As far as the option, he remains healthy and it isn't a bad investment to pick it up.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Station 13 View Post
    Lester still has 95 last night. but his control is just very poor to make any use of it. t's something Lester is struggling with. The reliance on his cutter drives up the pitch count as it seems for 5 he throws, 2 has to be block by his catcher, at least at least 2 foul and maybe a strikeout. His K rate has really dropped and it damage his final line, unable to get that big strikeout when needed. When the 5-6th inning roll by, his pitches is already in the century mark, not because of 1 or 2 bad balls, because he cannot put away batters consistently.

    As far as the option, he remains healthy and it isn't a bad investment to pick it up.
    He wasn't sitting 95, he threw that on like one pitch, eliciting surprise from Orsillo. His max velocity the last 5 years, the fastest recorded pitch in each season.

    2009: 98.4
    2010: 97.5
    2011: 96.2
    2012: 96.2
    2013: 95.2

    You're right that he can't put away batters like he used to. I see so many foul balls and 2 strike hits off him

  13. #13
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    Lester is like a teenage girl on the mound. That being said, I would pick up the option if the season ended today.

  14. #14
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    Just checking on some of the PitchFX numbers at FanGraphs. Not only is velocity off but movement on his cutter, curve, and change are off (less movement) as well. Unfortunately those pitches count for just over 70% of his pitches thrown. Down velocity with less movement? No wonder he's not generating strikeouts. Two year trend? Yeah, that might be a mix for another employer in 2014.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Lavigne43- View Post
    Before the season it seemed like a no-brainer that it would be picked up, but so far this year he's basically pitching the same as last year. This year he has a slightly better K rate, slightly worse BB rate, once again his velocity is slightly down from last year. His era isn't as bad, but it gets closer with every start. His FIP seems to think hes allowing more runs then he should, 4.11 last year and 4.12 this year, but a low 4 era isn't exactly what you wanted from him.

    He has a $13M option next year. Since the beginning of last year he has been a below average pitcher, and nothing I see gives me hope that he will improve and return to being the Lester of old. If the season ended today I'm not sure what the Red Sox would do. $13M might be worth gambling on him rebounding, but is it worth it when our rotation next year consists of:

    1: Lackey, who's pitching like he did for the Angels, his surgery looks like it turned back the clock
    2: Buchholz, injured every year, but has put it all together this year, he's under team control until 2017
    3: Dempster, has been a very solid innings eater, just what we wanted. FIP says his era is way better than his era, probably because all of the homeruns.
    4. Doubront, has pitched very good since the start of June, young and cheap.

    We have a slew of pitchers who could potentially take a spot next year: Webster and Rubby would be the front runners, with Ranaudo, Workman, and Barnes all possible at some point.

    Names that stand out in free agency are: Floyd, Garza, Halladay, Haren, Hudson, Hughes, Johnson, Kuroda, Lincecum, Maholm, Nolasco. Nothing too appealing, which is funny since this free agency looked great just a couple years ago. What are the odds we get more value out of one of these free agent pitchers then Lester at $13M?

    Trading him voids his 2014 option, so why would a team trade anything of good value for a mediocre rental? The best hope is that he turns it around and this thread looks silly in a couple months. I am really starting to wonder if this is the last we see of Lester in a Red Sox uniform though. Even if he turns it around and ends up having a good year and we pick up the option, he would be turning 31 at the start of his next contract. At that age with his overall decline how can you offer him a 4+ year contract?
    Nice write up but if you think Lackey, Dempster, and Buchholz can all be counted on for 185+ IP each, I have bridge to sell you.

    FA's are expensive, kids are not a sure thing either.

    I think Lester could use a skipped start on top of the AS break.


    6/27/09: “We expect [Rondo] to play by the rules and be a leader as a point guard. We need him to be more of a leader,” Ainge said. “There were just a couple situations where he was late this year, I don’t know if he was sitting in his car, but showed up late and the rest of the team was there. We have team rules and you have to be on time. He was fined for being late, he said he was stuck in traffic, and it’s just unacceptable.”

    Some jerks never learn.....

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